Digital economy to reach $50 billion by 2050

[14 Feb 2023] — The scale of Vietnam's digital economy could hit $50 billion by 2050, of which, e-commerce will be the most important contributor.

On the afternoon of February 10, the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment cooperated with Lazada Vietnam to organise a seminar -- "Digital economy and sustainable development: Opportunities and challenges in the new context.”

According to the E-conomy SEA report in 2022 by Google, Temasek and Bain Company, the scale of Vietnam's digital economy could reach $50 billion by 2050.

The size of the retail e-commerce market in Vietnam grew by 28 per cent, reaching $23 billion in 2022. If optimised, emissions from e-commerce activities will significantly be reduced by 30-40 per cent compared to normal commercial activities, contributing to sustainability.

In addition to a population of nearly 100 million, the number of internet users is high, said Nguyen Anh Duong from the CIEM, adding thay said that government has provided numerous policies for the development of the digital economy.

Decision No.645/QD-TTg in 2020 approved the national master plan for e-commerce development in 2021 - 2025; Decision No.749/QD-TTg in 2020 approved the national programme on digital transformation until 2025; Decision No.1968/QD-TTg in 2021 approved the scheme on boosting IT application and digital transformation in trade promotion; Decision No.411/QD-TTg in 2022 approved the national strategy for the development of digital economy and digital society through 2025.

Despite the fast development, experts at the seminar said that Vietnam is facing barriers in the process of developing the digital economy. Infrastructure for the digital economy is not synchronised, the digital connectivity capacity is not favourable for the development of the digital economy, high-quality human resources for the digital economy are still weak, and regulations on consumer protection are also too weak. Moreover, the innovation capacity of the private sector is said to be one of the major limitations to the development of Vietnam's digital economy.

Lai Viet Anh, deputy director general of the E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency said sustainable development of the digital economy, including e-commerce, was a big challenge. Besides emissions from e-commerce, the problem of counterfeit goods online was complicated.

In the opinion of Vu Thi Minh Tu, a representative of Lazada Vietnam, the quality of human resources for the digital economy in the country is still poor, affecting the sustainable development of the digital economy.

To sustainably develop the economy and the digital economy, the CIEM representative said that sustainable development has been prioritised by the government, such as Decision No.622/QD-TTg issued by the prime minister on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; Decision No.681/QD-TTg on the roadmap for sustainable development to 2030; and Decision No.749/QD-TTg on the National Digital Transformation Programme to 2025.

They highlighted that sustainable development is a requirement throughout the development process of the country, combining economic and social factors, protecting natural resources and the environment, and responding to climate change. In particular, science and technology, especially the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and national digital transformation, will be the driving force for sustainable development.

To sustainably develop the digital economy, in addition to the efforts of the authorities, the business community has also taken specific actions. For example, to reduce waste from packaging, Lazada Vietnam has released a handbook on effective and environmentally friendly packaging of goods, targeting sellers on the platform to encourage environmentally friendly practices.

According to Lazada Vietnam, the handbook offers useful tips for sellers of all sizes to properly and efficiently pack goods to save packaging materials, minimise errors, improve economic efficiency, and reduce waste – The Vietnam Investment Review.

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